Man pulled knife on fellow residents at asylum seeker hotel

An asylum seeker now living in Sunderland pulled a knife on compatriots at a hotel in York after they insulted his family.

Monday, 13th September 2021, 4:55 am

Hakiri Ghafuri, 29, got involved in a disturbance at the Mercure York Fairfield Manor Hotel in Skelton, his first accommodation in the UK.

During the altercation, he went to his room, picked up a blade – and went back to the scene of the dispute, a court heard.

The weapon was not used – and Ghafuri, who is Kurdish, fled into the grounds of the hotel, which was used exclusively to house asylum seekers.

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The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

Prosecutor Glenda Beck said Ghafuri, now of Otto Terrace, Ashbrooke, was found unarmed soon afterwards, but a search by police found the knife.

Magistrates in South Tyneside heard the bust-up, at 8.50pm on Wednesday, May 12, happened soon after Ghafuri had entered the UK illegally.

He is now seeking legal asylum, but no decision date has been set by the Home Office, it was said.

Mrs Beck added: “Security staff were alerted to a disturbance, and there were five or six people found grappling.

“Mr Ghafuri was present and suddenly bolted from the room and was chased by security staff.

“He went directly to his room and is then seen carrying a red-coloured knife. He has then ran back to the initial scene of the disturbance.

“Following this, he attended a different room and began to bang on the door, still holding the knife.

“He again ran off but is later detained, without any possession of the knife. Police searched and the knife was found.”

Ghafuri pleaded guilty to a charge of instilling fear or provocation of violence.

In a Probation Service report, Ghafuri said other asylum seekers had insulted his family and he had retaliated as a matter of honour.

Kevin Blount, defending, said: “This offence came after an argument that he was on the wrong end of. He had no previous convictions.

“He’s learnt from this experience and there’s been no repetition or further offences.”

Magistrates sentenced Ghafuri to a 12-month community order, with a requirement 20 days of rehabilitation work and 40 hours of unpaid work.

There were no court costs, but he must pay a £95 victim surcharge.

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